Tennis Victoria and Tennis Australia have an unwavering commitment to child safety. As part of our work in keeping in the Tennis community safe, changes have recently been made to the Tennis Australia Member Protection Policy in relation to the local screening of individuals who serve on Club or Association Committees.
In particular, it is now a requirement that individuals serving on committees obtain a Working with Children Check and provide evidence of this to their Club/Association.
Working with Children Checks are free for volunteers and can be applied for via Working with Children Check Victoria: workingwithchildren.vic.gov.au.
Individuals who already have a Working with Children Check (either as a Volunteer or as an Employee) should add their Tennis Club/Association to their Check, which can be done by creating/logging in to their MyCheck Account using their existing Working with Children Check card details. A step by step guide is available here.
By having all members of your Committee obtain a Working with Children Check, your Club/Association is showing leadership in the area of child safety, which is an obligation of the Victorian Child Safe Standards.
We strongly encourage all Clubs and Associations to include Safeguarding Children as an agenda item for their next Committee meeting. We appreciate that for those Club/Associations who have not previously required all Committee members to obtain a Working with Children Check that there will be the need for local transition plans to be created. We ask that you turn your attention to this as a matter of priority.
Since 2017, Tennis Australia and Tennis Victoria have provided detailed, tennis specific advice to clubs, association and coaches regarding Safeguarding Children practices. Practical guidelines and tools for your club are available at tennis.com.au/childsafe.
In the coming months, further Safeguarding Children workshops will be conducted to assist Clubs and Associations with their ongoing work in this area. In the meantime, please review the Safeguarding Children resources available and contact your local Participation Leader should you have any queries that we may be able to assist with.
We thank you for your continued commitment to this important topic.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does our Club/Association need to provide evidence of Working with Children Checks for our committee members to Tennis Victoria or Tennis Australia?
Generally, no. This information is something that your Club/Association will manage locally.
However, such information may need to be provided should a complaint regarding a Tennis National Policy (e.g. Member Protection Policy) be received and investigated by the Tennis Australia Integrity & Compliance Unit.
What is the timeline for our Club/Association to ensure all Committee members have a Working with Children Check?
The requirement in the Tennis Australia Member Protection Policy is already in effect. However, we recognise that volunteer run Clubs/Associations require time to implement changes to their practices. We strongly encourage that this be an agenda item for your next Committee meeting and that your Club/Association develops a transition plan to ensure that all Committee member obtain a Working with Children Check as soon as possible.
I don’t think my specific role on my Committee requires a Working with Children Check, as it isn’t child related. Why am I required to obtain a Working with Children Check?
Working with Children Check Victoria note that ‘some organisations have their own policies regarding who requires a check.’ In this regard, Tennis has taken a position that all committee members in Clubs/Associations should obtain a Working with Children Check. This is the case even if there is an exemption from an individual legally requiring a Check.
Leadership on Safeguarding Children is required at all levels of our sport, and all Committee members having a Working with Children Check is a simple and practical way for Committees to demonstrate their commitment to child safety. This also aligns with the overarching requirements for Clubs/Associations under the Victorian Child Safe Standards (Standard #1 – Strategies to embed an organisational culture of child safety, including through effective leadership arrangements).
Why should my Club/Association have access to see if I have a criminal record? I might have a conviction from my youth that isn’t relevant for anyone to know about.
A Working with Children Check does not disclose the details of any offences to your Club/Association. Your club/association will simply be advised by Working with Children Check Victoria whether you have been able to obtain a Working with Children Check, or not, following their review of any serious criminal history and any relevant industry professional conduct. See ‘What do you Check’ on the Working with Children Check Victoria website for more information.
For clarity, a Working with Children Check is not the same as a Police Check (which would outline details of any convictions). Tennis does not require Clubs/Associations to obtain a Police Check for volunteers serving on Club/Association Committees.
Who else at my Club requires a Working with Children Check?
Screening of individuals, including a Working with Children Check, should take place for all individuals appointed to roles that have contact with children, whether it be as coaches, team managers, tournament directors, officials and umpires (paid or volunteers) or otherwise. More information is set out in the Member Protection Policy, with resources and templates to assist clubs available at tennis.com.au/childsafe
Coaches who are Tennis Australia Coach Members are screened nationally for their Working with Children Check as part of their annual membership.